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Minneapolis, St. Paul lift mask mandates

Plus: Chauvin makes initial appearance in federal court; Mesabi Metallics sues Minnesota over iron ore leases; Twin Cities restaurants offer signing bonuses; and more.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

For KARE-TV, Val Lick says, “Mayor Jacob Frey Tuesday signed an emergency regulation lifting the mask mandate for Minneapolis. Within hours, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s Office announced that the mandate will also be lifted on their side of the river Wednesday. While Gov. Tim Walz lifted Minnesota’s statewide mask mandate in mid-May, Minneapolis and St. Paul leaders chose to keep their respective local mask mandates in place until June.… As of Tuesday, Frey said 78.6% of the city’s residents aged 15 or over had received at least one dose. Nearly 70% of those residents are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The AP’s Amy Forliti writes: “The former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death made his initial appearance Tuesday on federal charges alleging he violated Floyd’s civil rights by pinning the Black man to the pavement with his knee. Derek Chauvin, 45, wore an orange prison shirt when he appeared in federal court via videoconference from Minnesota’s maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights, Minn., where he’s being held as he awaits sentencing following his April conviction on murder and manslaughter charges. … The federal charges allege Chauvin violated Floyd’s rights as he restrained him face-down while he was handcuffed, not resisting and gasping for air.”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “An appeals court panel has brought back to life a discrimination lawsuit filed by former University of Minnesota football players who were punished for an alleged 2016 gang rape. Three judges for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals found the players have made a credible argument that the U punished them because they are male, citing ‘external pressures’ and detailed allegations of ‘investigator bias and dubious investigative procedures.’ The case now returns to U.S. District Court, where the players will be able to present their argument that the U discriminated against them because of their sex.”

Says Mike Hughlett for the Star Tribune, “Mesabi Metallics has sued the state of Minnesota for terminating its iron ore leases, a move intended to keep its troubled and long-delayed mining project from collapsing. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) terminated Mesabi Metallics’ mineral leases last week, saying the company failed to meet provisions of its state agreement, notably having $200 million in hand by May 1. Mesabi Metallics late Friday sued the DNR in Ramsey County District Court for breach of contract and breach of good faith, essentially asking the court to disallow the lease cancellation.”

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A WCCO-TV story says, “Four wolves escaped from a wildlife center northeast of the Twin Cities last week, and half are now believed to be dead. Officials with the Wildlife Science Center, located near Stacy in northeastern Anoka County, say workers took away the sole newborn pup from the alpha female of the pack, named Iris. The move triggered four members of the pack to dig their ways out of the center’s enclosement last Thursday morning. One of the wolves was hit by a car, and later euthanized at the center. There is also an unconfirmed report that another wolf was fatally shot.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Erin Adler writes: “The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has reached a settlement with the company that runs the Minnesota Renaissance Festival after finding probable cause that a freelance photographer was raped by the festival’s artistic director in 2017. The department’s investigation found that Shakopee-based Mid-America Festivals Corp. violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act when it failed to provide a safe work environment free from sexual assault and harassment. The settlement requires Mid-America to establish and carry out anti-harassment policies and ensure that staffers are trained to identify and address sexual harassment and assault. Mid-America also must ensure there are multiple ways for employees to report harassment or assault.”

An AP story says, “The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce wants Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to stop, or at least delay, his plan to impose new air emissions standards for vehicles in his state. The North Dakota and Minnesota organization, along with about a dozen other border community groups, co-signed a May 25 letter to Walz outlining their concerns over his proposed ‘Clean Cars’ policy. ‘The considerable price increase caused by the rule would fall hardest on Minnesota’s border communities. Auto dealers in our communities will incur a severe competitive disadvantage to dealers just across the border who have not adopted California’s air emissions standards’ according to the letter.”

For KARE-TV, Deevon Rahming reports: “Restaurants and bars are banking on a busy summer as they rebound from the pandemic, but they’re facing a new hurdle. A severe shortage of workers. As a result he service industry is taking a page from the state’s playbook by offering incentives. Some of them offering financial incentives like a $10,000 signing bonus for managers at places like Punch Pizza. The Blue Plate Restaurant Company, which owns several restaurants across the metro, is offering a $350 hiring bonus for hourly positions with the $100 being paid out when you start, and the remaining $250 paid out after 90 days.”

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